Thursday, 11 February 2016

Why are we afraid to admit we know things?

There seems to be something of strange issue in the sceptic community. Something that raises its head on twitter from time to time. I think it's a by-product of scepticism but I'm not sure it's a good one. 

It's this thing that we can't admit that we know something. 

Tell people, including atheists, you know gods are pretend, and many of them will lose their minds. 

"You can't prove there are no gods any more than a believer can prove there is one" or "How can you possibly know that, it's impossible" "You can't prove a negative"

Fewer people would have an issue if you said you knew Leprechauns were pretend, but I don't see the difference. 

Leprechauns - characters from mythology, never shown to be real, obviously pretend creatures you never hear of besides un-provable stories about the supernatural. 

Gods aren't different, you know. Maybe you might take issue at 'obviously pretend', but if you're an atheist, I don't know why. If you're a theist...well I don't know why either. 

The only difference I can see is that there's are still a lot of people who think gods are real, but that's not reason to think they are.

Gods have everything in common with being made up, and nothing in common with being real. When you ask a theist what characteristic their god has that meet a criteria of existence, they can't answer you. 

It makes me wonder, what are we holding out for? What is keeping us from saying we know gods and goddesses can't, and don't exist? People might say well, you can't know everything. True, but I don't need to know everything to know there's no pink dragon living in my garage. 

I know my name is Donovan. How? Well, because my parents told me and they're the point of truth. Maybe they named me something, but called me something else? Okay, but I've seen my birth certificate. Maybe it's a fake? Yeah, I guess it could be. But at what point do we say it's ridiculous to keep doubting? 

I think we should avoid hyper-scepticism and at some point we have to be okay with 'knowing' something. I'm happy to say, I know my name is Donovan, because the alternative - that it's been a decades long cover up by someone who knew better, is so preposterous that I don't need to give it any credibility at all. 

I've been questioned for saying I know the sun will rise in the east tomorrow. It makes me wonder what's going on in the head of someone who thinks you can't know this. What possible event do they think might happen to make it so the sun doesn't rise in the east tomorrow? A catastrophic explosion? The earth suddenly flipping poles? What are we afraid of? It can't be that we're afraid of being wrong, because you're not going to be wrong. We know we're not going to be wrong. And we know we know we're not going to be wrong! Do you know the sun will rise in the east tomorrow? Yes, you do. Own it.

Keep in mind, knowledge doesn't require absolute certainty. Maybe you can't ever be 'absolutely certain' of something...but I bet you're not going to ever leave a building by a 12th story window just because you can't be 'absolutely certain' you will plummet to the ground. You *know* you'll plummet to the ground. Don't be afraid to say you know it'll happen.

I'm a gnostic atheist to the same extent that I'm a gnostic ALeprechaunist and I'm a gnostic apinkdragonist. Gods and goddesses are creatures of mythology. We know this for a fact. Zeus, Thor, Nike, Jupiter, Ra, Venus, just to name a few, we know these gods aren't real. I've no issue adding Yahweh to the list. Created by superstitious people, when we didn't know about the universe, didn't know how to investigate the universe, let alone that we even could. Gods are only ever invented by primitive people who don't know better. We know better now. I can't understand why any sceptic would give the existence of Yaweh even the slightest credibility. 

What if we remove the names? Not Yaweh, not Thor, not Athena, just 'god'? Does that make the idea any more credible? I don't think so. Gods are made up. They are obvious human constructs, so it comes back to the question - why are we afraid to say we know they're not real? 

The answer is, for some at least, because you suddenly get barked at about how you know! People say you've now made a claim and shove burden of proof at you. It creates a hassle that people don't want to deal with. Can I prove 100% that no gods exist? No. Can I make a case that shows, beyond reasonable doubt, that no gods or goddesses exist, yes, I can. For myself at least. 

Is this enough for me to say I know they don't exist? I think it is. 

Monday, 1 February 2016

A brief response to Ken Ham

On January 30th, Ken Ham, President, CEO, and founder of Answers in Genesis tweeted the following: 

"Atheism is nothing more than the religion of naturalism in a failed attempt to rebel against the Creator God"

I saw the above and felt it necessary to respond. 

I received some positive feedback for my response, including a suggestion from @BJPrice1 to put it into a blog. So I have. 

My response...

Ken, my fellow Australian, you are a disgrace to thinking. You're an ignoramus. Your brain has malfunctioned. 

Atheism is the logical and reasonable response to the totally absurd and unsupported claims that mythological beings are real.

If you were able to show, with evidence and verifiability, that gods exist, atheism would cease to be a thing.

It is, indeed, a fact that atheism exists because people recognise that your claims are ridiculous and unsupported.

Atheism is not an attempt to rebel against anything, Ken, let alone the god you happen to imagine is real.

Atheism is people being reasonable in the face of billions of people being gullible, superstitious, and ridiculous.

I sincerely hope that you one day value logic and reason over faith and superstition.